Take a trip to Brisbane – the World STI and HIV Congress

Take a trip to Brisbane, Australia in the pages of your STI journal! (ISSTDR Brisbane).

The International Society for STD Research (ISSTDR) is holding its biennial conference down south for the first time ever – 13-16 September 2015.  What’s more, it’s being held back-to-back with the Australasian HIV & AIDS conference (16 -18 September). No surprise, this being the biggest world HIV & STD research event, presentations include papers by a number of September’s STI journal contributors as well as contributors to STI journal Online First.

So, if you don’t belong to an academic institution that will fund your trip, and you can’t afford the air fare, then sit back, and let STI journal blog guide you through some selected highlights!

At the top of the bill for us the issue of PARTNER NOTIFICATION, and – this being a British-based journal – a possible strategy, much discussed in our pages: Accelerated Partner Therapy (APT), involving treatment of contacts, without the latter having to attend a clinic (Patient Delivered v. Accelerated Partner Therapy (STIs/blog); Golden & Estcourt (STIs); Dombrowski & Golden (STIs)).

-Follow the link to find out just how APTHotline (telephone assessment of partners) and APTPharmacy (community pharmacist assessment) compared with standard partner notification in a randomized control trial: BRISBANE: Escourt & Cassell.

Also on the issue of PARTNER NOTIFICATION. Can we predict from certain key facts about contacts, which are most likely to be worth treating presumptively? An Australian cross-sectional questionnaire-based study of 1,500 Chlamydia contacts arriving at a sexual health clinic in Melbourne between 2010 and 2013 investigates predictive factors for transmission.

-Follow the link to find out what we can tell from about a contact from certain key facts about them and their behaviour: BRISBANE: Huffam & Chen

Still on the topic of Chlamydia. The emergence of new POINT-OF-CARE DIAGNOSTICS requires us to consider how they should be used in the most effective and cost-effective way. A study investigates use of Gram-stained urethral smear analysis – to see the effect of restricting the test to male patients currently displaying symptoms rather than routinely administering it to all high risk male patients.

-Follow this link to discover what impact this change in diagnostic algorithm had on diagnostic accuracy, loss to follow-up and cost-effectiveness: BRISBANE: Bartelsman & De Vries

Moving from Chlamydia to HIV/AIDS. The topic of DELAYED LINKAGE TO CARE is one that has occupied our contributors (Lee & Gazzard (STIs)) and seems to have recently come to the forefront of attention (Retention in Care rather than Diagnosis (STIs/blogs)). Skarbinski & Mermin make a case for shifting the focus of public health investment, in the US at least, towards retention and linkage, on the grounds that this could have a more significant impact on onward transmission than simply expanding t testing. This is, of course, not only a problem in the US. A recent STIs Online First contributor is presenting to the conference on a study to quantify the problem of delayed linkage to care in the Netherlands, and to pinpoint its social determinants.

-Follow this link to discover what proportion of newly-diagnosed in the Netherlands are linked to care within four weeks, and what social factors confer vulnerability: BRISBANE: Van Veen & Van der Sande


‘Up-stream’ of the above studies that seek to inform clinical practice, the ISSTDR Conference features contributions in the areas of EPIDEMIOLOGY and SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR.

First EPIDEMIOLOGY. The Indigenous peoples of Australia constitute a sub-population with distinct needs which it is no surprise to find receiving some attention at a conference in Brisbane.  A contributor to STIs On Line First addresses the topic of a complication of Gonorrhoea that would be a rarity in other populations, but is apparently “an important differential when dealing with patients with undefined sepsis and associated joint disease” among the Indigenous population of Central Australia: Disseminated Gonococcal Infection (DGI).

-Follow this link to discover how serious a problem Disseminated Gonococcal Infection (DGI) is in this area, and what kind of people are affected: BRISBANE: Tuttle & Maguire

Moving now to SEXUAL BEHAVIOUR . The issue of ‘chemsex’, and its implications for MSM sexual health, has recently been a topical one (Chemsex & HCV Transmission (STI/blogs); Matser & Van der Loeff (STIs)).   A study published On Line First and presented at the Conference traces back an outbreak of Shigella flexneri among MSM to reported social media encounters, chemsex drugs and chemsex parties.

-Follow this link to find out about lifestyle and sexual behaviour factors explored through in-depth quantitative interviews: BRISBANE: Gilbart and Hughes

The final stop in our whistle stop tour is a different kind of SEXUAL BEHAVIOUR study. This is an application of modelling to demographic data relating to non-co-habiting sex partnering in 25 countries of sub-Saharan Africa. What are the roles of men and women, married and unmarried in driving heterogeneity in sexual networks, and how does this vary by country?

-Follow this link for mean values and variances of number of partners by sex, marital status and country: BRISBANE: Omori & Abu-Radadd

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